The countdown to the Sasol Solar Challenge has begun. Ranked as one of the top global events of its kind, the Sasol Solar Challenge is an exciting eight-day country wide endurance challenge demonstrating the sophistication and performance of solar-powered vehicles.
Held every two years, under the auspices of Motorsport South Africa and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the event is a collaborative initiative between university students, lecturers, scholars, private individuals and various industry and government partners.
According to Richard Hughes, Sasol Sponsorship Manager, the event is an exciting display of the power and flexibility of renewable energy in action. “We are extremely proud to partner with an initiative that not only promotes the use of alternative energy sources but encourages young minds to become engaged in engineering, science, business practices and teamwork.”
The Solar Challenge will take place from 27 September, starting in Pretoria and finishing on 4 October in Cape Town and will see 14 local and international teams, including six local universities and two schools participating.
Teams will come together, following months of hard work creating innovative designs and building their own engineering systems, with the ultimate challenge of powering a solar powered vehicle across some of the most gruelling terrain in South Africa.
The winners will be determined through various categories that include average time and distance, average energy consumption and the teams’ car’s average battery use.
“We have taken a different approach to the route for the 2014 challenge. Participants will have the option to determine their daily distance travelled by completing driving loops varying from 58km to 132km to put their vehicles through the ultimate endurance test,” said Sasol Solar Challenge Director, Winstone Jordaan.
“Consideration will be given to vehicles demonstrating advanced automotive technologies and environmentally conscious designs to prove their capabilities,” he continued.
There will also be a schools engagement programme along the route, boosting and encouraging the development of the much sought after skills of science, technology, engineering and maths. The formal programme, involving 200 schools on the route, will run in conjunction with the Sasol Solar Challenge pit-stops.
The education programme material consists of a kit which explains how solar-powered vehicles work and material that enables learners to build their own model solar-powered car. Learners will race their cars, competing against other schools in the hopes of being the fastest solar team.
The Sasol Solar Challenge aims to capture the imaginations of all South Africans and there will be various opportunities en route for the public to interact with the cars.